Local CIPD Branch Events - Do you attend?

Good morning,  I am trying to find if people out there value the events that the local CIPD branches hold,  I have been part of the committee for our local group for sometime now and am finding it increasingly frustrating,  we hold around 8 events a year on a wide variety of topics, but find that we have an average attendance of around 15 people attend each one.  

We are also finding it incredibly difficult to find people who are willing to volunteer to join the committee, which means much bigger workload for the few that have joined, and also I worry that we are not putting on events on topics that are interesting to those who are new to HR, we do ask for ideas from all those that attend, but very few people are even willing to contribute these!

There is also very little recognition from CIPD for the work that the volunteers do (not even a Christmas Card!)

I would be interested in getting your feedback,  

  • Twas ever thus.

    I do not think it is helped by the CIPD which historically appears to have regarded branches/groups as irrelevant nuisances.

    Many ears ago as a Group Chair I noticed that the better attended events ended up with a poor speaker so people were put off and the good speakers attracted a small audience so not many to spread the word.

    These days the CIPD will point out that it can be good for your CPD to be part of the committee and I do think this is true.
  • In reply to Peter Stanway:

    Once upon a time, long ago, the great and the good of the area (nod to Peter S.!) seemed very active in these Groups, but seemingly not at all these days, for whatever reason(s)......
  • In reply to David:

    I am neither great nor good. I am also a tart insofar as I will go to events in three areas in at least two branches ie Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich. I have even been known to venture into Essex.
  • I've been to two events.

    One was an 'Employment Law update', given by a firm of local solicitors, whom I assume get asked to do this 'annual update'. Nothing they presented was in any way particularily new and some of the presentation was an attempt to see what was inside the Genie's lamp for the coming year. Not only that they were unable to answer some relatevely simple questions about dealing with long-term sickness absence and a couple of answers they gave were incorrect.

    When I lived in Ireland I also went to one in XXXX city, some 60 miles away. It was a total heap of disorganised chaos. It was advertised to start at 7,pm or whatever. The chair didn't address the gathered folk at well past 7pm, which in fairness was something quite common in Ireland where little if anything started on time. However, it was being held in a university and students kept entering the hall, often in groups, and pairs, wandering around the hall finding seats and so on for most of the session - well after the advertised start time of course. Absolutely no attempt was made to stop this.

    Needless to say I've not bothered with another.
  • Hi Chloe, I do try and get to as many events as I can. I'm a member of the South East Wales branch and there has been LOTS of work done recently to encourage the Wales branches to work together and offer a wide range of events. One factor for me which has been particularly key to encouraging me to attend has been some of the more 'practical' angles to the topics featured. Incidentally I have raised this with my branch committee. Previously some events have been rather lacking on how to practically apply the learning and facts to the workplace so I'm clear on what to do but not how if faced with opposition. Also, some events have been delivered by suppliers who, naturally, are hoping to get some business leads - don't blame them - however this means there is only a taster rather than more in-depth material to digest and take away. One event I attended was based around having difficult conversations, great topic! However the first half of the presentation (45 mintues) was spent describing what a difficult conversation looks like. Hang on, I work in HR, don't you think I know that??!?! So the event didn't really match my expectations since the supplier wasn't going to give away their secrets without making me pay for them. For me - and this may be a personal preference - the events I have enjoyed the most have involved key speakers, such as John McGurk, Peter Honey and Rob Briner. Really excellent evenings. In terms of event feedback our forms always include a section asking for ideas for future events (no doubt you do the same) so hopefully that may give you a steer on what the members are looking for.
  • I've never been to one - often the topics look interesting, but they are always at the same time (evening), which is a time that is personally impossible for me due to caring responsibilities. I would have much more chance of attending if they were within a working day (as my employer would see it as valuable CPD).
  • Hi Chloe,

    My experience relates to the Wessex group of branches (4 branches in total)

    Prior to the Wessex group actually forming, I didn't go to any events as I never got told about them. Once Wessex started and I spoke to their great administrator, I have attended in Southampton and Portsmouth, and have ear marked a couple of future sessions for this year. Some of the events offered cover topics that just aren't my interest/area.

    Typically, event turn out is small. I know the last event I went to was a discussion with David D'Souza - really interesting, but a very small group - certainly, I'm sure much smaller than he is used to addressing. I overheard one of the branch volunteers sating 48 had registered to attend - there certainly wasn't 48 in the room. I was horrified to be given a paper 'happy' sheet to complete at the end - why oh why can't we get on with technology! Particularly amusing given the topic of conversation was Tech's impact on the Future of HR.

    The very first session I ever went to was on networking. It was painful. The content dated, delivered badly, and the least engaging session I have ever participated in (and I used to work in insurance so believe me, it shocks me that this is the case). In addition the time-keeping was really poor (seems universal reading David P's comments). I sent very pointed feedback afterwards, with examples of how it could be done differently to appeal to those outside HR, who are the next generation of HR professionals, and a more diverse group. I expressed an interest to quite literally put my money where my mouth is and deliver a session on any area within my expertise - I never got a response. The only plus was a possible bottle of champange after a business card draw.

    Despite going to events, I have never been told how I can volunteer. This is something I would be happy to do. No current 'HR' type news is ever shared.

    The joining of the branches has meant it is much easier to get different topics of interest going in different locations - sometimes its purely a case that the time/date don't work for me. I have yet to see a session that is not mid-week evening. As someone with childcare responsibilities - I have to weigh up paying for a babysitter with the value I'll get (CPD isn't enough sometimes). Attending also literally means skipping dinner or eating after 9pm - having something slightly more palatable than tea/coffee would be wonderful.

    A great group I do go to is a collaboration between Hants Digital Women and BCS Women (Hampshire) in Southampton. They clearly state the times session will run (and do stick to them), provide food (just hot canape's) and drink (including wine for the non-drivers when an evening session), they cover 2 topics each session - sometimes unrelated but always something brought up by attendees in previous sessions; and hold a dicussion with all attendees to find out what's impacting them. People are free to stay to network afterwards and if a particular topic is no interest, you can go and have more drink outside the conference room and just chat. The topics are practical - so picking up on Clare's comment, I have always left the sessions after learning something, and so far every speaker has been engaging with up to date content/information. I'd thoroughly recommend the CIPD branches following suit.

    Kind regards,
  • Before I moved to the East Midlands, I was very much encouraged by the Council where I worked to attend Local branch meetings. Only problem was there were few events, little that felt relevant for to me to learn and develop and there was usually a cost involved - this still seems to be the case for the East Anglia branch (Cambridgeshire). The other events in the region were just too far away.
    As I already worked in East Midlands before moving here, I noticed that the Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire branches seems to have more events and more relevant to students and those at my level seeking to learn and develop. They were also usually free for CIPD members! I also get regular event newsletters etc, whereas I recall very little from Cambridgeshire.
  • I am also a non attender . I do wonder if people who use these boards prefer to get their information a different way by and large?

    Earlier in my career I attended the odd employment law update and occasionally other session. But over time I found the program less relevant and the quality of talks/sessions less worthwhile so I drifted away. I also rarely get emails about them (or if I do they don't stand out).

    I wonder of the CIPD has ever produced some membership stats on how people interact with the institute. What % barely engage at all, what % uses branch meetings (my guess is less than 10% regularly) what % uses the forums, what percentage uses the forums and branches etc....

    I also wonder if for most members they have largely moved on from physical meetings that struggle to fit into modern working and life patterns.
  • I occasionally attend events given I straddle 4 branches. However my feedback is often very similar - This was not relevant to me as an SME. I was recently at an event about recruitment strategies and the speaker spoke about the probelms she faced when her budget was cut to £250k. I have to get sign off for £300!

    I did offer to speak myself as I have done a few things and contact made but no follow up.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    2 Mar, 2018 13:42

    I led a two-and-a-half hour session at a Wessex Branch strategy day back in Dec 2011. It was well-attended :)
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    2011 haven't you been asked back since  :-) :-)

  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    2 Mar, 2018 13:54

    In reply to Keith:

    They can't afford me ;)
  • Hi Chloe

    I went to a few events a few years ago (Manchester branch) but have to echo what a lot of other people have said. Firstly it was difficult to find ones that I could actually get to - either timing wise, or accessibility as I'm always on public transport. The ones I did make it to seemed to be nothing more than plugs for local businesses trying to get you to sign up with them for recruitment services etc. After one particularly painful one involving terrible organisation and an excruciatingly bad speaker I decided not to bother again.
  • I'll be honest I don't attend as the branch local to home holds the sessions too early for me to be able to get back in time and the one local to work holds them too late for it be be worth me hanging around to attend.